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Rady Children's Specialists


Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program and Follow-up

Infants born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) have a hole in the diaphragm, allowing abdominal contents to migrate up to the chest leading to underdevelopment of the lung and difficulty breathing after birth.

Depending on the severity of the defect, it can be life threatening. Rady Children’s Hospital takes a multidisciplinary team approach to provide comprehensive care to infants with CDH, with survival rates above the national average. If diagnosed prenatally, you will be seen in our Fetal Care Program by a surgeon and neonatologist to discuss the diagnosis and what to expect.

After delivery of your baby will be transferred to the Rady Children’s NICU. In the NICU, we focus on early gentle ventilation using heliox if needed to reduce need for ECMO. Should ECMO become necessary we have a dedicated team of ECMO providers in the NICU. The medical and surgical team work closely to determine optimal timing of repair. After repair, your medical support will be slowly reduced and the focus will shift to supporting developmental skills with our team of physical therapists and occupational therapists.


We have a multidisciplinary team comprised of a core group of neonatologists, pediatric surgeons, pulmonary hypertension specialists, cardiologists, nutritionists, lactation specialist, a respiratory therapist, a physical therapist and an occupational therapist.


Jeanne Carroll, M.D.

Marva Evans, M.D.

Jose Honold, M.D.

Amy Kimball, M.D.

Brian Lane, M.D.

Mark Speziale, M.D., Ph.D.

Denise Suttner, M.D.

Pediatric Surgeons

Timothy Fairbanks, M.D.

David Lazar, M.D.

Nicholas Saenz, M.D.

Hariharan Thangarajah, M.D., M.P.H.

Follow-up Care

Follow-up care after discharge focuses on developmental care. Babies with CDH will follow-up with Pediatric Surgery and the NICU Neurodevelopmental Clinic. Based on the individual needs of the infant, follow- up may be arranged with Gastroenterology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and the Dysphagia team.

Prenatal Diagnosis

Please contact Tanya Cano, the coordinator of our Fetal Care Program, for referral information.

Tanya Cano, Fetal Care Coordinator
Phone number: 858-966-6777